Jailed high school graduates encouraged to 'do what's right'

jail class

Jail teacher Andy Simmons poses with members of the class of 2013, including, from left, Shomari Coles, Derrick Steele, Keith Jackson Jr., Damanta Murphy and Goldie Rogers.

BRIAN HUGHES / News Bulletin
Published: Thursday, May 30, 2013 at 07:59 PM.

CRESTVIEW — Damanta Murphy, Shomari Coles, Keith Jackson Jr., Goldie Rogers and Derrick Steele are inmates in the Okaloosa County Jail Adjudicated Youth Facility.

However, school officials expressed hope that newly attained diplomas will positively affect their lives.

The five were part of a graduating class of 11 students who pursued high school diplomas and GED certificates while serving time. The other six had already left the jail.

Hopes and dreams

"I am proud of him," Shomari's mother, Christina Oregon, said. "It's a situation that was bad, but he made it an accomplishment."

Shomari hopes to enter the military when he leaves jail — "hopefully next month” — he said.

Derrick said he wants to become a chef.

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